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Super teacher pay flies higher

Advanced skills staff are much better paid but are also much-appreciated, survey reveals. Clare Dean reports

ENGLAND'S "superteachers" are being paid between pound;3,000 and pound;5,000 more than other staff to spread good practice and get the highest results in their own classrooms, inspectors revealed today.

The rises in pay have been revealed in a survey by the Office for Standards in Education into the work of advanced skills teachers.

This category of teacher was introduced three years ago with a pay scale of up to pound;44,571.Those in this category spend 80 per cent of their time teaching in their own classroom but are free the rest of the week to help colleagues and other schools.

The survey suggests that advanced skills staff are hard-working, well-thought of, flexible and prepared to work unsocial hours. Inspectors also say they provide effective support for other teachers. But they are failing in setting up links outside their own school to spread good practice. Fewer than half use more than 80 per cent of their non-contact time for outreach work at other schools.

Inspectors, whose report was based on visits to 35 schools and interviews with 70 advanced skills teachers, said there had been varied success in setting up outreach work.

In the most extreme case, one primary head had made no time available for the advanced teacher to work outside the school. Teachers in some specialist colleges had found it particularly difficult to build links outside their schools.

Meanwhile, failing schools found it hard to get advanced staff, with neither the increased salary nor the status proving attractive enough. All of the advanced skills teachers surveyed by inspectors had been appointed within their own schools. There were equal numbers of men and women and more than half were over 35.

The most experienced had been teaching for 30 years, while five had only five years' experience. Advanced staff in secondaries were often successful heads of year or department.

Half of the advanced skills teachers were judged to have had a good impact on teaching and learning in their own school; for a further third the impact was very good or excellent. Where they did get out of school, the work of two-thirds was judged at least good while for two-fifths it was very good or excellent.

The scheme was suspended last year after a challenge from the National Union of Teachers. Assessments of those wishing to get advanced skills status resumed in April.

"Advanced Skills Teachers: Appointment, Deployment and Impact" www.ofsted.gov.uk

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